I started writing about marketplace lending back in 2010, so I have spent almost the entire decade immersed in this space. While we have expanded our coverage on Lend Academy today beyond marketplace lending this remains a major focus.
We have certainly come a long way in the past ten years and the industry is almost unrecognizable from where it was in 2010. Back then there were just two notable companies in the space, LendingClub and Prosper, originating just a few million dollars a month in loans. No one could have predicted that by the end of the decade marketplace lending would have led to a resurgence in personal loans and changed expectations for customer experience across all lending verticals.
As I look back at the past decade here are, in my opinion, the top ten most important news stories in chronological order.
Prosper Recapitalizes and Brings in a New Management Team
At the time this was a huge story. The number two marketplace lender had been struggling for some time and was in serious danger of running out of money. This new funding round was small by today’s standards at $20 million but it ensured that Prosper would remain a going concern. The deal was architected by, the now fintech legend, Ron Suber as he brought in a new management team and a new board to guide Prosper on to their future growth path. It helped set the industry up for success over the next several years.
LendingClub Becomes First Marketplace Lender to go Public
This was a momentous day for marketplace lending as market leader LendingClub became the industry’s first company to go public. The IPO was a huge success by any measure. By the end of the first day of trading LendingClub was valued at $8.46 billion and they had raised $870 million in cash. Of course, at the time we had no idea what would happen to the stock but there was a sense a real optimism that this company was going to change the world.
Second Circuit Rules on The Madden Decision
The biggest legal issue the industry dealt with this decade was the ramifications of the Madden v Midland decision. We have been following this case since the Second Circuit ruling in 2015 and it has had far reaching consequences for the industry. It has led to a reduction in lending activity in Second Circuit states (NY, CT and VT) but the bigger concern was that this kind of ruling would spread nationally. That has not happened and there have been multiple regulatory fixes proposed plus the OCC and FDIC have weighed in as well. But as of this writing nothing concrete has changed since the 2015 decision.